The Glenville Shootout and the Trial of Fred Ahmed Evans
Legal Proceedings of Fred Ahmed Evans: Jury Selection
Presiding Criminal Court Judge Bernard Friedman ordered 150 prospective jurors for the Evans case, twice the normal number for a murder case.1 Judge Friedman later amended his order, as Ohio law only permitted between fifty and seventy-five prospective jurors for a murder case.2
The case was assigned to the court room of Judge George J. McMonagle. Prospective jurors were personally handed subpoenas by sheriff's deputies. Judge McMonagle emphasized that prospective jurors would face arrest for failing to appear for jury selection.3
The jury selection began March 24, 1969, and concluded April 9, 1969. Both prosecution and defense attorneys asked prospective jurors their feelings about black nationalists and their "Afro" clothing. Only five prospective jurors were questioned in the first day of jury selection, a slow pace considering sixty-seven prospective jurors responded to the subpoena.4
Jurors were asked whether they could return a verdict that would result in the death penalty, without regard to personal beliefs. Prospective jurors were also asked whether the fact Evans was a known black nationalist would influence their impartiality.5
By April 9, 1969, a final panel of seven women and five men were seated for trial.6 Judge McMonagle ordered the jury to be secluded daily in the Hotel Statler Hilton in downtown Cleveland. Telephone calls and reading materials were censored and radio and television programs were banned.7
Following the jury selection, Evans' defense team filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that the lack of racial diversity on the jury seriously impinged Evans' chance for a fair trial, asserting it was not "proportionately fair." In the panel of sixty-seven prospective jurors, only seven were black and none were seated as jurors. Evans' team requested a mistrial when it came to light that some prospective jurors joked about Evans' guilt. Both Stanley Tolliver and Charles Fleming argued that the entire jury was contaminated, and the selection process would need to be redone. Judge McMonagle denied both motions.8
1"Jury Hunt Starts for Evans," Plain Dealer, Feb. 19, 1969.
2Edward P. Whalen, "Judge in Ahmed Evans Trial Warns Jury List to Show Up," Plain Dealer, Mar. 21, 1969.
4Tony Tucci, "Selection of Jurors to Try Evans Begins," Cleveland Press, Mar. 24, 1969.
5Tony Tucci, "Evans Jury Quiz: Death and Race," Cleveland Press, Mar. 25, 1969.
6"Evans Jury Finally Completed," Plain Dealer, Apr. 10, 1969.
7Edward P. Whalen, "Seclusion Ordered for Evans Jury," Plain Dealer, Apr. 11, 1969.
8"Three More Excused From Evans Jury Duty," Cleveland Press, Apr. 2, 1969.